Lindor, Lee to play for World Team in Futures Game
Indians pair to take part in prospect showcase July 14 at Citi Field
CLEVELAND -- The memories Francisco Lindor has of the Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game must be mixed. Of course, any prospect would be thrilled to play in the prestigious event. But at the same time, you'd be hard-pressed to find a ballplayer who enjoys losing by 12 runs, as Lindor and his fellow World players did in 2012.
Lindor, a 19-year-old shortstop from Puerto Rico, is headed to New York for the 2013 Futures Game on July 14, along with Chen-Chang (C.C.) Lee, a Taiwanese right-hander. The two were chosen to represent Cleveland on the World Team's roster, which will be looking for a different result against a U.S. squad that ran away with last year's game, 17-5.
In that game, Lindor came off the bench in the seventh inning and cranked the first pitch he saw into right field for a single.
"Francisco is very comfortable on a baseball field," Indians general manager Chris Antonetti said. "Wherever that is, whoever he's playing against, he's very comfortable."
While there has been much turnover in the rosters between this year and last year, Lindor remains. The eighth overall pick from the 2011 First-Year Player Draft, Lindor is widely regarded as the Indians' top prospect. Through 70 games at Class A Advanced Carolina, Lindor is hitting .307 with 15 doubles, five triples and one home run. He also has 24 RBIs, 43 runs scored and 18 stolen bases in 22 attempts.
"He's so mature. Not just his personality, but the way he plays the game," Tribe manager Terry Francona said. "I just think it's a matter of allowing him to play enough where when he gets here, he can be an offensive, if not force, presence. He could probably handle himself right now if we sent him out there, but you also want him to be an offensive player. He needs reps and games and experience at higher levels as the game gets faster. It's going to be exciting to watch his progression."
Some of Lindor's other offensive statistics this season include a .377 on-base percentage and .411 slugging percentage. The shortstop has a 1-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, with 30 of each. In the field, Lindor has made 15 errors in 69 games at shortstop. He's turned 42 double plays and owns a .953 fielding percentage.
"Our focus with Francisco is helping him be the best Major League player he can be," Antonetti said. "We don't want to rush that process. He's continuing to develop exceptionally well in Carolina, and is working through some things there. He's on a great path where he is now. We couldn't be more pleased with his development."
Lindor will be joined on the diamond at Citi Field by Lee, a 26-year-old on the roster at Triple-A Columbus. Lee is ranked as the Indians' 20th best prospect. A year after Tommy John surgery, he has made 10 relief appearances this season, two at Class A Lake County and eight at Double-A Akron. In 10 total innings, Lee has allowed four hits and three runs. The righty also has issued five walks and 13 strikeouts, while holding opponents to a .121 batting average.
"His stuff is equivalent to what it was prior to the injury," Antonetti said. "Now, I think it's just a question of him having enough time on the mound to get that same consistency with his command. His stuff is very good."
Lee is the only player on the World Team to hail from an Asian country. Aside from Lindor, the only other Puerto Rican on the ballclub is A.J. Jimenez, a catching prospect with the Blue Jays.
The 15th annual SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game takes place at 2 p.m. ET on All-Star Sunday at Citi Field in New York and can be seen live on MLB.com, ESPN2 and ESPN2 HD and followed live on MLB.com's Gameday. In addition, XM Radio will broadcast play-by-play coverage of the event live on MLB Network Radio XM 89. MLB.com will also provide complete coverage before, during and after the game. Fans can stay updated by following @MLBFutures on Twitter and can send/receive tweets to/from the U.S. and World Team dugouts during the game by tagging tweets with the hashtags #USDugout and #WorldDugout.
Also, for the first time, fans will determine the final player on the U.S. and World Team rosters by casting their votes in the All-Star Sunday Futures Finalists ballot. There are five candidates for each team, and voting ends on Sunday at 11:59 p.m. ET.
"There are a lot of good things going on in our farm system," Antonetti said. "We've developed some guys that we were expecting some things coming into the year, as well as some guys that have developed maybe even more quickly than we would've thought. There have been a lot of positive stories in our Minor League system this year."